Zero sanction?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by DeeCee, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. DeeCee Valued Senior Member

    Here's a funny little story for you.

    My 21 year old nephew is up in a civil court at the end of the week on a charge of racially motivated assault and possession of an offensive weapon, following a drunken brawl some six months ago.
    To attend trial my nephew has been granted two weeks leave by his employer (The British Army) who have at great expense flown him home from Afganistan.
    In the four weeks he's been there he's had six 'contacts' and assisted in the recovery of two dead Americans, two dead SAS and a number of coaltion wounded. Over the weekend his section spent time in a Chinook that aquired 47 holes between Friday and Sunday. He has also dodged a number of RPG's and sporadic mortar attacks.
    The British alone have lost five troops in four weeks.

    If found guilty he faces a custodial sentence of six to twelve months. Not guilty and he's back in afganistan to complete a six month tour before taking a holiday then going back for a further six months.
    His mother, who belives her son is innocent, has told me that part of her hopes he goes to jail. It's safer.

    My nephew denies all charges and is eager to get back to killing and maiming dusky folk in the name of Queen and country. The irony of this situation does not escape me.
    Oh and his section is now down a GPMG until he gets back.

    Points to ponder...

    How do you punish a man whose day to day routine makes a jail sentence look like a birthday present?

    Does society share responsibility for violent crimes committed by individuals trained in violence by said society.

    As section machine gunner my nephew is sorely missed by his mates who have handed over his GPMG to another member of the section who is not as well trained or as experienced in it's use. Should he be jailed it could be weeks before a suitably qualified replacement is found.
    Should the court take the wellbeing of the rest of the squad into account when sentencing? A none custodial sentence would see him back in Afganistan within 48 hours.

    Comment welcome..
    Dee Cee
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2006
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    If he has committed a crime, he should be dealt with in the usual way.
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  5. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    I think it illustrates the fallibility of human justice or perhaps the tumultuous nature of providence - what appears to be a curse could be be a blessing and what appears to be a blessing can be a curse - will the irony never end???
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  7. DeeCee Valued Senior Member

    If he has committed a crime, he should be dealt with in the usual way.

    Sounds reasonable if not for the fact that

    1. Any sanction imposed by the court could possibly be considered an improvement in his circumstances

    2. A custodial sentence could possibly put the lives of others at risk.

    If I'm correctly informed imprisonment has three main aims, to deter, to offer redress to victims and to protect society.
    We can see that there is no deterrent effect here and we can argue that society is best served with soldiers on the front line.

    I'm not pushing any particular point here. I'm just pondering the inflexibility of the justice system and the issues that it throws up.
    Another example is a local transient who commits minor offences to gain a bed for the night. He's become a real pain for local store owners so I hear.

    what appears to be a curse could be be a blessing

    Strangely enough he don't want to go to jail he'd rather go back to war.
    Go figure
    Dee Cee
  8. Bells Staff Member

    And there's the kicker. If found guilty, a jail sentence for him would be considered a punishment because he would rather go back to the war. For your nephew it would prove to be a big form of punishment and possibly (hopefully if he is in fact guilty) a deterrent.

    While for many, a jail sentence would be an improvement to his circumstances, it would not be for your nephew. A jail sentence for him could prove to be a horrendous punishment as he thinks of his fellow soldiers, many of whom are probably his friends, out there on the front lines while he's stuck behind bars.

    As to the lives of others. They are in a warzone. There is no absolute guarrantee that your nephew's being there will ensure that the lives of his fellow soldiers are saved or somehow better protected. From the looks of it, mere survival in Afghanistan at the present time looks to be not only from skill, but luck seems to be a major part of it as well.
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    During real wars (those that were formally declared in writing by the appropriate political entity and delivered by the ever-helpful Swiss ambassador to her counterpart in the enemy nation, which is impossible in this case because there is no enemy nation and therefore this is something other than a war), it was common for judges to give those convicted of minor crimes like brawling the choice of avoiding incarceration by joining the military and risking their lives on the battlefield.

    I have no information on how such a case would be handled if the guilty party is already on the battlefield. But this seems like a no-brainer to me. Of course I am hypothesizing that this fighting is just and should be supported, which goes against my beliefs. In real life I would demand that all the troops be brought home, the people who deployed them be stripped of their power, the Middle East be left to fester without our "help," and your nephew's trial be treated like any other.

    "Does society share responsibility for violent crimes committed by individuals trained in violence by said society."

    Of course. In order to keep a civilization from collapsing, the citizens must not have to distract their energies and passions from civilized pursuits toward protecting themselves from each other. Therefore the most fundamental imperative within a civilization is that no citizen shall physically harm another citizen under any circumstances for any reason, without exception. To violate this is to foster distrust and discourage cooperation.

    If a society maintains that there are circumstances under which it is acceptable not just for an individual to harm another, but for an entire community of individuals to kill off another community, then as civilizations go this one is on cosmic probation and may be punished by the universe by being allowed to descend back into the Stone Age.

    War is the greatest threat to the survival of civilization. Defensive war may be seen as a necessary evil by citizens of the nation under attack (although perhaps not by everyone else likely to be affected by the disruption). But offensive war, punitive war, "preventive" war, and in this case capricious war borne out of the hubris that one people knows what's best for another people that is a thousand years older, is immature behavior at the species level.

    To train people to kill each other is wrong. It is in direct conflict with the mandate of civilization that people must be taught, cajoled, bargained, or if necessary extorted into not ever even thinking of killing each other.

    Therefore if an entire society trains its members to kill people, the entire society is to blame when that training, as any fool could predict, is used against unintended victims.

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